Two thousand and fifteen is now in the record books and most of the results in the fields of books, manuscripts, maps and ephemera have been recorded. It was a busy year.
The RBH database increased substantially beginning 2015 with 5,566,545 records and ending at 6,025,501, an increase of 458,956 of which 44,861 are in the category: old auctions. In 2016 we expect to add about 2,000,000 lots from auctions conducted between 1860 and 1960 and those old records posted recently in the category “old Auctions” are test panels for what will become a much larger RBH database by the end of the year.
These records will be coming from many sources. Chief among them are sales conducted by:
John Anderson, Jr. later named the Anderson Auction Gallery and still later, The Anderson Galleries. [1901-1938]. This was the dominant auction house in New York during the first 25 years of the 20th century. Their footprint in the collectible paper category is huge.
Bangs, Merwin & Co. A powerhouse in the final quarter of the 19th century [New York].
Heartman’s Auction. First a New England, then New York, later New Jersey and finally a southern auction house. Recently acquired material will supplement the partial company archive we currently provide.
Stan V. Henkels. He organized sales that were conducted by various Philadelphia auction houses [1890 to 1920].
Leavitt, Strebeigh & Co. Active during the Civil War and in the post war era.
Leonard & Company, Boston.
C. F. Libbie [Boston]
Harry H. Leeds & Co, active during the mid-19th century.
The Walpole Galleries [New York].
Merwin-Clayton Sales Company
Parke-Bernet. We have been lent an extensive archive that will substantially complete the thirty-year history of the firm.
Raines Galleries, New York
Scott & O’Shaughnessy. An active New York auction house
Harry Simmons, Albany, New York
Ten million records is a fair guess at what it will take to provide a reasonably complete record of lots in the book, manuscript, map and ephemera fields from 1901 to the present. For the period 1860 to 1900 there appear to have been roughly another 4 million lots in the United States and England.
The older records will help establish provenance and probability of reappearance.
So there is work to be done. We will be busy throughout the year and will be looking to buy or borrow additional records. If you have runs of auction catalogues and would sell or lend them let us know. The goal is a complete record.